9 Business Tips For New Yoga Teachers
Once you’ve made it through your yoga teacher training (which let’s face it, is life altering!) you’re ready to go out into the world as a QUALIFIED YOGA TEACHER! And now you feel like you’ve forgotten everything you’ve learned and feel terrified!
As a yoga teacher and virtual assistant, I know the challenges of running a business, especially when you're starting out! Let me hold your hand through this little minefield. I promise nothing’s too scary but it’s a important to get things organised from beginning. (N.B. Being UK based, some of my information is specific to this country, so please make sure that you check the specifics where you live.)
Despite a no doubt thorough and wonderful yoga teacher training, you feel like a deer in headlights!
Don’t worry, your feelings are normal and I’m here for you. You need to make sure that you've got all the basics covered. It will keep you organised and make you feel like you've got your s*** together!
Let's have a look at what you need to bare in mind:
An important one - you need to register as a business with the government in your country for tax (and possibly other necessities).
In the UK you need to register with HMRC and submit a self-assessment tax return each year, if you’re self-employed.
2. Bank Account
A lot of people erroneously use their personal bank account as a business account. You need to be aware that most terms and conditions will prohibit that. It can be scary looking at the fees and costs of business banking but it's not all bad! There are a lot of new online only banks like Starling, Mettle and Monzo which don’t have monthly fees or fees for electronic transactions. Perfect for a new business!
Paying out for an official website can fill a newbie yoga teacher with fear. It’s absolutely understandable that you don't want to spend £100s on a website. Especially at the beginning but there are alternatives if you want something lowkey. For example, Google My Business allows you to create a small but easy website for free. Alternatively, skip ahead to the Booking system section below.
4. Social Media
Social Media is one of the cheapest, most accessible and these days, necessary ways to advertise your business. But there is a learning curve. Spend some time learning how to create engaging and attractive posts and make sure to learn all the basics of social media. Just because you have recreational Facebook and Instagram accounts, does not mean you are Social Media savvy. So, my yoga teacher friend, do yourself a favour and learn how to make pretty Facebook posts.
5. Teaching Venues
Decide whether you want to be paid a set rate and work for gyms or sports club, or if you want to rent halls or studio spaces. Renting a space means that if you fill it, you’ll earn far more than if you get paid to teach at a gym. On the flip side, if nobody turns up (which can happen at the beginning), you will earn nothing and still have to pay for the rental. When you’ve decided, have a look in your local area and see what’s available. If you want to rent the studio space, make sure you’re clear on whether you only get the studio space for your money or if they do any marketing on your behalf. If they don’t, you are in charge of bringing in all your students and you need to take full responsibility for that.
6. Filing System
You can start with a simple binder and some file dividers inside. Then create sections for receipts, class records, tax information, accountancy, studio information and invoices. This list is not exhaustive but it will give you a good starting point.
7. Booking System
Look, I’ll lay it out for you: you don’t have to have a booking system. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t need one. I put it off for years but it revolutionised my whole yoga teaching business. When you’ve been teaching for a while, you can get lost in recording class bookings, attendance and payments. Then, if you have some people who buy blocks and some who pay weekly, things can get crazy! Booking systems do so much of the legwork for you! You’ll also be able to claim what you pay for one as an accounts expense, so it’s a win/win situation. Do your own research but I rate Acuity Scheduling for usability vs monthly cost. A lot of booking systems give you a website for booking, so if you don't want to spend on a full blown site, you can use your booking system.
You need to advertise, then advertise some more and then a little bit more and even when you start getting students in, keep advertising. Even if the class is full, keep advertising. People will sometimes stop coming to class and it’s not a reflection of you or your teaching but keep the new students coming in, it will help.
You can easily create good advertising images on Canva (or similar websites). Then post on your Facebook page, share into local groups and ask friends and family if they’ll please share posts for you. Get the studio you rent to put up posters for you and hold some flyers and talk nicely to your corner shop and see if they'll put your flyer up on their bulletin board. Cover all bases.
Once you start getting students in, ask if you’ll give you testimonials. Nothing helps bring in new students like the recommendations of other students.
You’ll figure out how to make this all work. It might not all make sense straight away but I promise you’ll get there! I know you’re nervous about teaching classes but I promise that it gets easier the more you do it. So, get that practice in, ask friends and family to let you teach them in the mean time and get the word out.
You’ve got this yogi/yogini, I promise. It might be scary and a little overwhelming but remember why you became a yoga teacher: because you love yoga and you want to help people. Keep that in mind and KEEP YOUR OWN PRACTICE GOING and you’ll do great!
And if it feels like it's all too much and you don't want to go it alone, come and have a look at my social media/blogging/admin services. I'm here for you.